A Cruise in 1946

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A Cruise in 1946.


This photo is taken circa 1946 and is in the club archives, the location is Higher Poynton where Constellation Cruises and Marineville are now located. The water tank in the left background has long since disappeared. It must be post 1945 as during the second world war there was no petrol for pleasure use. It includes the following boats (left to right): Royal Oak, Ailsa Craig, Unknown, Venture, Joy and Otter. Otter was owned by Harry Downe who was the club’s first commodore.

Ailsa Craig must have been sold by the owner J Lister shortly after this photo was taken as by late summer of 1948 it was in the possession of R H Wyatt of Stone who hired it to Robert Aickman, Elizabeth Jane Howard, James and Anthea Sutherland and Tom Rolt, all of the recently formed IWA. Looking at the size of the craft the accommodation must have been very cosy, even with two of the party sleeping in a tent on the towpath. In this craft they navigated the Trent and Mersey, Macclesfield, Peak Forest, Ashton, Huddersfield Narrow canals and returned by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. It was an epic and tough trip and the last recorded complete passage of the Huddersfield Narrow until its restoration in 1991.

Accounts of  the 1948 trip can be read in the early literature of the IWA, including the accounts we have been left by both Robert Aickman and Tom Rolt in their biographies. The passage of the Huddersfield canal was particularly trying as they holed their boat on some obstruction and sunk and got stuck in Standedge tunnel at least twice as well as being enveloped in dense clouds of smoke from trains in the adjacent tunnel. What became of the craft after this moment of fame is not recorded.

Royal Oak  was a converted lifeboat, an almost identical craft to it , Oak Day was under construction by the owners son: Frank Kennerly, and in 1951 made the voyage to the Market Harborough rally a trip of some 112 hours cruising.

Submitted by Noel Christopher.


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